Support for Cybercrime Victims: The US Is Playing Catch Up
Although nation-state activities in cyberspace often grab the headlines, the majority of malicious cyberactivity comes from cybercrime. CTA members spend a lot of time and money combating this problem. That’s one reason why we work with organizations like the Cybercrime Support Network to reduce the effects of cybercrime on the digital ecosystem. We invited Kristin Judge, the Network’s CEO, to provide her perspective on the issue.
What do Australia, Israel and Singapore have in common? These three countries, and a few others, are ahead of the US in addressing the impacts of cybercrime on individual citizens and small businesses. Around the world at least 6 countries provide live and immediate support to citizens impacted by cybercrime through a national call center. It is time the US catches up!
AROUND THE WORLD
Australian Cyber Security Hotline – 1300 CYBER1 – No one is under the illusion that all the criminals are going to be caught and prosecuted because these centers exist, but victims need help. The Hotline site explains, “Not all reports are investigated by law enforcement agencies, however your report assists to disrupt cybercrime operations and make Australia the safest place to connect online.”
Israel 119 for Cybercrime – The US offers the reporting function at multiple federal agencies, but what we lack is the assistance. According to their site, “The center can be contacted 24/7 by dialing the free, emergency number 119 – the world’s first initiative of its kind that allows any citizen to report a cyber incident and receive initial assistance.”
Singapore Police Force’s Anti-Scam Centre (ASC) – Not only do victims in Singapore get to have help with their computer, many are getting their money back thanks to the national support system. “Within one year, the Anti-Scam Centre of the Singapore Police Force received more than 8,600 reports of scams, with a total of around ($38M USD) lost to these scams. Out of this sum, about 40 per cent was recovered, amounting to more than ($15M USD).” 
HERE AT HOME
The US has thousands of dedicated, career civil servants working to combat cybercrime and online fraud in federal agencies like the FBI, USSS, CISA, DoD and many others. State cyber command centers triage threats and share information about large scale attacks on critical infrastructure and government. Our international partners do that too, but they also provide services specifically dedicated to individuals and small businesses that are impacted by cybercrime and online attacks.
Cybercrime reports are accepted by FBI, FTC, IRS, state AG offices and other agencies. The reports are rarely shared among agencies and follow up with the victim doesn’t happen except in circumstances where the loss may be over $100,000. The US needs to provide more help to the potential 50 million Americans losing an estimated $380B each year through one coordinated center that is simple to access by the average citizen. Our international partners already have successful programs and are willing to share lessons learned.
This is not just an issue of victimization, but an economic crisis. With billions of dollars leaving the US and moving to foreign bank accounts, less money is being spent on Main Street, retirement savings, or a rainy-day fund to help a family survive in a pandemic.
The Cybercrime Support Network is working every day to make more services available to the “one in four adults victimized by cybercrime”  each year in the US. CSN has been awarded a cooperative agreement from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to study and build the foundation for an information sharing structure that pushes information about cyber threats to individuals and SMBs to State, Local, Territorial, and Tribal law enforcement agencies with a potential to act. We also work with organizations like the Cyber Threat Alliance to increase awareness of what private sector security companies can provide to these groups. The US is closer than ever to building a nation-wide system to support individuals and small businesses, and I hope you will join us in our efforts.